• Shavonne Wager

Yes You Can! Building Positivity When Everything In You Wants To Give Up!

by Von Wager

I SIMPLY CAN NOT.


A couple of weeks ago I got told by my lovely boyfriend that I had spent three solid days saying ‘I can’t’ to pretty much everything. We were boxing in the park and I had decided that I could no longer do this really tricky double punch where you throw a punch then STRAIGHT after you do another one. Sounds proper easy, but you have to ‘whip it’ (as he says) and pivot forward with poise, grace and force - things which I do not naturally possess in my clumsy wheelhouse. 


I absolutely COULD do the punch, I just couldn’t get it perfectly right at that moment - it would have taken practice, but I was very much trapped in what I call an ‘I can’t loop’. I can’t loops, otherwise known as those self deprecating holes of misery that I sometimes get into, that once I am inside there is a solid chance I will be quickly consumed by nothing but negativity. I used to find myself deep within these dark chasms oh so often when I was really suffering, my life was made up of ‘I can’t this’ and 'I don’t deserve that’ so it took me back slightly when he called me up on it. 


It’s taken me absolutely years to get to a place where I am happy most of the time, where I don’t hate on myself daily, where I’m not an anxious wreck - where I celebrate all that is Von and her weird and wonderful ways! It’s taken practice and sheer determination to rewire my brain almost completely from a very dark place which didn’t happen overnight in ANY way, but it's bloody easy to dip back into that murky pit I tell you. In fact it's much easier to live there than it is to stay in the light, which is why I subconsciously chose to stay there for so long. 


I learnt about this in therapy and have discussed this before, but to explain what I mean - if we are used to negative behaviour patterns or surroundings we seek comfort in them. If we were brought up in chaos, we seek that chaos later in life. If we are told we only deserve x over and over again, then we seek x - even if x is bad for us and makes us incredibly unhappy. Given the choice we fly towards the bad like a moth to a very alluring, but dangerous flame. 


Right now so many of us are going through very intense and often forced changes in our circumstances because of a global pandemic. For a lot of content creators our lives might not be drastically different from before - however unbeknownst to us, we will categorically be affected by the things and the changes happening around us, by the news, by our friends  - by social media. We have been pounded now repeatedly by SO MUCH shit for the best part of the year, it is no wonder that even the most ZEN humans are struggling to reach the last remaining morsels in their serotonin pots. 


So why the punching story Von? 


I told the lame punching story because I didn’t realise I was being negative, I didn’t realise I was saying I can’t do everything - and he was right, I absolutely was. At the moment, we are trying to set up some very scary new business ventures - scary because they’re SO different from what I have been doing for so long, and they are things I have always wanted to do, so it means something to me. My partner and I talk about everything together and he helped me realise that I’m just terrified right now of change and that I am so used to saying ‘I can’t’ when shit hits the fan, it's easier to run than it is to stay and fight (quite literally in that case).


It is SO easy to tell ourselves we can’t do something, to go with that guttural reaction of - NOPE - rather than challenge our instinct, to go against the grain, and to push through. We face resistance because as humans WE HATE CHANGE and it is when we start saying I CAN that real change happens! That is how we get fitter, how we get smarter, how we accept love and how we level the f*** up! I told the punching story because it is also metaphorically representational of everything I have learnt over the years about change - about saying to myself, YES I CAN!


Practice and perseverance is at the heart of all of it, you have to practice changing the negative thoughts into positive ones, to tell yourself you can do things. You have to replace self doubt and feeling sorry for yourself with stories of gratitude and positive self reflection. You have to work on that punch over and over until you can do it - just because it isn’t perfect RIGHT now, it doesn’t mean it won’t be in 3, or 6 months time. 


The story we tell ourselves is the only thing we have. That voice in the back of our mind will dictate our entire life's existence, and if we don’t get that pesky little fucker under control, that inner saboteur will take control and hold you back. It is FAR stronger, it is more aggressive and powerful than the positivity fairy, and in times like today where it seems like anything could happen in the world (I mean aliens could literally take over the world tomorrow and you’d be like ‘ah yeah, fair play’) you have to actively work on controlling it. 


I do believe the ‘I can’t monsters’ attack sex workers even harder than the rest of the population, which is why we have to work double hard. We face random criticism a lot than most civilians and even the toughest cookies find those negative voices hard to block out, and make us far more susceptible to negative thinking.


Mental health can be very tough to stay on top of simply because of the nature of our work - we are judged almost solely on appearance, we naturally compare ourselves to everyone else, we have to deal with (very often) challenging fans and issues with body image are rife. I won’t even go into why so many of us go into this industry as it’s not a one size fits all story in ANY way, but a lot of us do it for acceptance to feel loved and beautiful, so when our work goes even slightly wrong, it is a one way ticket to very fast intense self blame. 


CHOO CHOO, ALL ABOARD THE SELF HATE TRAIN!


When we board the I can’t train, it can go cataclysmically sideways and derail with immense speed and veracity, which is why it's really important to take note of the feelings and to try and work out the why. When we know why we think certain ways, it is really helpful as we can reframe things positively and work on replacing the negatives with positives. Again, this is something I worked on in therapy and had to learn over time - just like that annoying punch, I KNOW I will master in a few months. 


Toxic positivity 


There is very much such a thing as ‘Toxic Positivity’ pretending that everything is ‘JUST FINE’ (I always think of Ross from friends whenever I say I am fine, because we all know we aren’t FINE) I am absolutely not saying you whitewash emotions and just be like - YEAH I CAN, when you literally can’t do something, because that is probably just as damaging as not doing it. What I am saying is be open to hard work, be open to working on the things that are holding you back that you can’t do right now - but you will smash with time. 


Surround yourself with good - cut out the bad


A BIG shift for me came when I had to stop seeing certain people in my life that were negative. A few of these people were the type of people who on paper (or social media) look absolutely perfect, that pretend that they are the happiest people, but were actually the biggest liars, they lied to themselves and to others - these people are pure danger. For some reason I gravitate towards these kinds of people  like a greedy magnet, ready to gobble up all that bewitching metal. These people often give horrible advice, and you will find yourself just saying and doing things around them just to appease them - stop it if you can and instead level up around other like minded powerhouses!  


You can change at any age 


Trust me. I am 34, and on paper (that metaphorical piece of bullshit paper we all visualise in our mind) I had it all - great marriage, big house in London, the perfect wedding - but in reality I was deeply unhappy with a drug problem and hadn’t had sex since I can’t even remember. I changed everything, started an OnlyFans and I am modelling more than I did when I was actually a model, am now about to go into (HOPEFULLY) a new career I love alongside that, and I am properly head over heels in love for the first time in my life. 


It doesn’t matter where you are in life, if you want to start a sexy content creation venture but think you’ll suck at it - trust me you can, there is a market for absolutely everyone and I promise you, you’ll find a fan that likes whatever it is you’re doing. If you feel stuck like I did - in whatever shitty situation you are in, you can 100% just STOP and make a difference today.


Don’t give up


I have wanted to bin my OnlyFans every month now since I started it because I have pitched myself against myself, compared my percentage to everyone around me and done nothing but wallow in the I can’t swimming pool with all the piss and despair, because I don’t feel good enough. After chatting with Sim-Wise (every month) I am constantly reminded that it’s normal to feel like this and with hard work and perseverance - it will get better, grow over time and you really can’t be too hard on yourself. I am forever grateful for the lifeline OnlyFans gave to me during the pandemic, being able to exercise my creative juices, stay organised, and make money from my PHONE in my living room has actually kept me sane.


With all the other work I am doing right now to start and build new businesses, I know they won’t happen overnight and the dedication and work I am doing right now to build their foundations will pay off - it just takes time. If you are doing the same, or considering starting something fresh, I highly recommend keeping yourself as organised as possible and carve our time each day for separate projects or things can get overwhelming if you’re working on multiple businesses. 


Call people out 


I needed to be called out for the shit I was saying - I didn’t know I was in the hole until I was pulled up on it and we often don’t. If you have a tendency to slip into self doubt or negative mindsets it might be a nice idea to have someone close to you who can warn you, or tell you when you’re doing it so you can shift it. 


Change is OK 


Being open to change for a lot of us is PROPERLY scary but it is only when we are open to changing things about ourselves that positive things are able to happen. If we stay stuck in whatever It is we are doing, doing those things over and over again we will only get the same results. 


PRACTICE NEW HABITS 


This is in capitals because it’s like being open to change - we have to understand it and be aware we need to do it, we have to practice new habits to make them stick. For me it was an entirely new lifestyle that I had to practice every single day, rigorously to get me out of the blackness. Now I work on forming better habits with exercise, practicing positivity - I work on fine tuning emotions - not to whitewash them but to improve them, to fine tune them. I work on learning and understanding the why, so I can help the outcome when I am faced with the negativity. This takes time and endurance. 


Learn How 


If you actually can’t do something it doesn’t mean you won’t be able to do it. You simply need to work out how to get there. LEARN HOW! Sometimes the I Can’t Loop is the best because it means you’re about to level up, to get a little bit better, a bit stronger, a bit more positive. I can’t means you will be able to at some point. Every single time I now say to myself I can’t - I know it’s actually a good thing because I’m about to (with time!) get a little bit more badass.


If you are just starting on your sexy journey then the absolute BEST thing you can do is check out our Beginner's Workbook - it has all the tips on how to get started SAFELY getting your bits out online. Or you can book in for a consultation with Von to get pumped up with a bit of her I CAN energy!

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